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Title: Re-engaging blues narratives : Alan Lomax, Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy
Author: Hobson, Vic
ISNI:       0000 0000 6253 2150
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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The blues, as a musical form, has been with us for around a century. How this novel form developed is still not known. The blues appeared in the repertoire of rural songsters, on the vaudeville stage and sheet music, and in the emerging jazz bands at much the same time. None of these genres has any clear primacy. W. C. Handy claimed that his commercial blues compositions were based upon rural folksong and the folklorist Alan Lomax developed this narrative of the development of the blues to argue that the Mississippi Delta was 'The Land Where the Blues Began.' Alan Lomax also extensively interviewed Jelly Roll Morton, the self styled 'inventor of jazz', who claimed that the blues was being performed in New Orleans in the early years of century and before there is any evidence of the blues being played by rural songsters. Morton explained how in 1910 as part of the Tri-State Vaudeville Circuit that he, and other vaudevillians performed the blues throughout Mississippi and elsewhere in the rural South. Using contemporaneous press reports, sheet music of the period, folklore collections, oral histories and the published literature, this thesis brings together what is known about the development of the blues within jazz, vaudeville, sheet music and also among rural songsters. I argue that the privileging by disengagement of the country blues from these other genres has limited our understanding of the development of the blues and that there is a need to reengage blues narratives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available